Yahoo! Is the exclamation point a gasp?


I talk to brand strategy clients in simple terms. Brand strategy — an organizing principle to improve product, experience and messaging — is the result of a bold down of consumer “care-abouts” and brand “good-ats.”

Looking at Yahoo, as it begins what appears to be the final stages of life as we know it, I’d like to suggest a couple of observations. Yahoo customer care-abouts include: communications, digital content (not TV content), immediacy and sports. Yahoo good-ats include: ad sales, consumer reach, brand, fantasy sports and  production.

When care-abouts and good –ats don’t align, you have product failure which leads to brand failure.

I was speaking with a start-up owner recently and told him, when dealing with brand strategy for nascent companies I “follow the patent.” For mature companies like Yahoo! with lots of twists, turns and portal creeps, I suggest go back to care-abouts and good-ats. Make tough decision. Toss a few babies out with the bathwater. And get your olfactory on. Imagine if Starbucks also served garlic bread.

Yahoo may have one last chance. If Ms. Mayer doesn’t focus, her company, a beloved company, will be sold for parts. Peace.